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Looking back and out on an Oxford career
Myra Frady retires from Oxford at the end of May 2017.

When most people retire they look back on their careers; Myra Frady can instead look out on her career. Through the restored windows of her office in historic Seney Hall, there is a sweeping view of the Oxford College quad, which she was instrumental in transforming.

Frady retires from Oxford at the end of May. She joined the faculty in 1989 as a lecturer in mathematics, at a time when computers were found in administrative offices and university data centers, but not yet in classrooms by and large. By 1994 desktop computing was the norm, and the Internet was making its entrance into everyday life. She was asked by then Dean William Murdy to take the lead in creating Oxford’s first student computing facilities. She subsequently built these into an information technology department responsible for a complex technology infrastructure, the support of instructional design and student technology needs, and web applications. She took on a new challenge soon after, when she was asked to take on additional responsibility for finance, budgeting, and buildings and grounds, all while continuing to teach part-time until 2000.

Those who know Frady best often refer to her as a left-brain/right-brain person. Besides her affinity for mathematics and information technology, she is a visual artist and semi-professional photographer. This combination of skills served her well in the many projects of the last two decades.

Says Oxford Dean Doug Hicks, “When I arrived at Oxford in 2016, I was struck by both the beauty and the functionality of Oxford College as a great residential liberal-arts college. Myra’s financial acuity, attention to detail, and artistic eye have had an impact all around this campus.”

In 2005, Frady was named chief financial officer and associate dean for finance and resource planning. Soon after, Oxford began more than a decade of restoration and construction, resulting in some $120 million in improvements. This includes six major construction projects:

  • Residence halls: Fleming (2014), Elizer (2008), and Murdy (2008)
  • Oxford College Library (2013)
  • Oxford Science Building (2016)
  • Oxford Dining Hall (2017)

Also accomplished were several major improvement/redevelopment projects, including:

  • Restoration of Language Hall
  • Exterior refurbishment of Seney Hall
  • Exterior and structural refurbishment of Williams Hall (Old Gym)
  • Interior-space renovation in Hopkins Hall
  • Structural refurbishment of Phi Gamma Hall
  • Conversion of the quad to a pedestrians-only zone, featuring brick walkways and improved, aesthetic outdoor lighting

Frady also oversaw the planning and design for the redevelopment of Pierce Hall, Oxford’s former science building, on which construction began this past January. When it re-opens in January 2018 it will be a once-old building that has been renewed and reimagined for current teaching and technology.

The 2012 restoration of Language Hall, built in 1874, is a project that is especially close to Frady’s heart, bringing together as it did the challenge of preserving a historic building and making it relevant and usable for twenty-first century pedagogy and academic technology. The success of the project is reflected in the plaque that hangs in its lobby, a certificate given in recognition of Language Hall’s winning the 2014 Excellence in Restoration Award, presented by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Very soon another plaque will hang nearby. Oxford College has named the space Frady Lobby of Language Hall, in honor of her many contributions over the years.

Such recognition is not what has driven Frady, however. In an interview with Emory News Center in 2013, she said, “It's important to remember why we do this. It's not about the buildings, it's not about the money, it's not about the bricks and mortar, it's about our students, our faculty, our staff. It's about the people here and what we're doing here...That's the "why" – and I think that's the most important part of my story.”

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